After the flood, rebuilding

There is the moment and moments, or the days and weeks of fire or water or manmade disaster. In that time, in my experience, many people behave admirably and humanity shines. Everyday people become outstanding heroes. They bear the loss of electricity and water remarkably well. It’s the aftermath, the time long after the flood lights and news cameras leave. (In Ferguson, on Canfield Lane, one of Mike Brown’s neighbors told me that she had a hard time sleeping because the press was always there.) It is the future time that reasonable people look forward to and are full of hope that they can expect to be normal and whole again, except that the situation is still different, and there are still holes. The walls of your home are still moldy, and you can’t just patch them up but you still have to live there.

Many people are fortunate to not know how long it takes to rebuild after a storm.

In the moment of Sandy, first responders and medical providers carried babies and patients down 20 flights of stairs. They didn’t and couldn’t carry all the laboratory mice who were being used in potentially life-saving cancer research. They couldn’t take the specimens that scientists had been working on for years. We talk about the lives that were lost, the homes and property that was damaged, but no one thinks about the lives that could have been saved from the decades and hundreds of millions of dollars of research. Many of those primary investigators left.

It was the months and year afterwards, where they couldn’t even see patients, and had to rotate at other hospitals. So the patients flowed, conceivably, or maybe just didn’t show up and prolonged what might have been treatable diseases had they caught them earlier. Stacking the health care safety net system is like stacking the initial rows of cannonballs or molecules. How you place them, what shape, what geometry determines the final shape of the pyramid. That’s how it goes with patient flow.

The photo above is where my husband graduated from residency at NYU Bellevue. The high water mark is 11 feet, taller than any of the graduates or speakers. 5 months later, Hurricane Sandy hit and I was on a campaign in another state. Someone asked me if I was worried for my husband and I said, “He’ll be okay, Bellevue is a fortress and it has backup generators.” And it is and it was. But the backup generators were underground, and they flooded. For a while afterwards, I was slightly obsessed with FEMA.

For all the Congressmembers and Senators who voted no or equivocated and dithered on Hurricane Sandy funding and claimed that the money in the relief package was “pork,” the money was for rebuilding. So that the tri-state area has coastlines with natural defenses against the rising waters due to climate change. As opposed to building houses for low income families or rich people right along the ooast.

Rebuilding and recovering resilience takes a very long time. We should let people go on with their lives, but instead, people who have been lucky to escape with their lives, but who have lost their homes and memories are forced to tabulate everything that they have lost for insurance adjusters. My friend who lost her home in a fire told me, “It felt like reliving the trauma.”

All this is to say, people will be hurting for months if not years after. Their lives will be altered. Limited English proficient folks sometimes get overlooked because they don’t understand how to apply for grants or loans. OCA Houston and AAPI nonprofits have set up an AAPI Harvey Relief Fund. Please give.

Asian American Action Fund’s New Podcast – Guest: Stephanie Murphy

Join us for the first Asian American Action Fund podcast. This episode we feature our endorsed candidate Stephanie Murphy, candidate for Congress for the 7th Congressional district of Florida.

The Asian American Action Fund proudly endorses Stephanie Murphy, a businesswoman, educator, and national security expert, for Congress. At the tender age of six months, Murphy and her family were rescued from Vietnam and came to America. Her parents worked so that she and her brother became the first in their family to attend college. With a degree in Economics from the College of William and Mary, Stephanie initially worked in the private sector.

After 9/11, she decided to enter public service, focusing on national security. She earned a Masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and then won a prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship to work in the Pentagon as a national security specialist for the Department of Defense. During her fellowship Stephanie earned the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. Stephanie has also served as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Bel Leong Hong, Chair of the Asian American Action Fund and a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in President Bill Clinton’s administration, stated, “It’s great to see more Asian American women in defense running for Congress. Murphy reflects the best of America and joins other strong contenders like Congresswomen Tammy Duckworth and Tulsi Gabbard in running for office.”


Alina Polishuk – Researcher

Mike Beck – Audio Production

Kumar Jayasuriya – Producer

Stephanie Murphy for Congress


Campaign Event for Asian American Candidate Stephanie Murphy

Eddie Ayoob & Irene Bueno cordially invite you to a luncheon with special guests in support of

Stephanie Murphy,

Candidate for Congress for Florida’s Seventh Congressional District

Thursday, September 22, 2016
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Bistro Bis
15 E St NW
Washington, DC

Special guests will include:
Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer
Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra
Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Joe Crowley

PAC Host: $5,000 – PAC Sponsor: $2,500 – PAC Attendee: $1,000
Individual Host: $2,700 – Individual Sponsor: $1,000
Individual Attendee: $500
For information or to RSVP, please contact
Jennifer Frost at jennifer@frostgroup.net or (202) 285-0966
Stephanie Murphy for Congress
3701 Porter Street, NW – Washington, DC 20016
FEC ID: C00620443


Obama Will Win

President Barack Obama will be reelected tonight.  It’s as simple as that.  Mitt Romney couldn’t handle Obama’s hard earned grassroots strength.  The way things look right now, Obama will take Ohio and Florida — two states Romney simply could not afford to lose.

This is huge — and Asian Americans will have played a major role in Obama’s victory.  One case in point:  the battleground state of Nevada (one-seventh Asian American).

More on this later.

— Gautam Dutta

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